Older Entrepreneurs Do It Better

Last weekend's Wall Street Journal featured a fascinating article, by Carl Schramm, that certainly bucks the prevailing thought about innovation and creativity. While this article does not discuss all the implications, the observations of this article raises interesting questions when you think about corporate America being incubators for innovation. Carl Schramm is a professor at Syracuse University. 

We all know today’s script for entrepreneurial success: A super-bright college student, impatient with classwork, drops out to pursue his big idea. Venture-capital funders chase after him, and he gathers smart pals around him to launch his startup. Sensational growth soon follows for the company—and riches for its founders—and the youth-driven innovation economy notches yet another success.

It’s a powerful narrative, and it has shaped lots of thinking about how to spark economic growth and prosperity. Many universities now boast programs for keeping budding entrepreneurs on campus, while federal, state and local governments spend some $2 billion a year on various entrepreneurship incubators and training programs—all in the hopes of identifying the next Mark Zuckerberg.

But what if we’ve got the story wrong? What if we’re looking for entrepreneurs at the wrong point in their careers—and paying a price for it economically?

Thanks to Charlz Gutiérrez De Piñeres for their photo from Unsplash

Crosland Stuart